What Really Lasts: Printed Portraits or Digital Files | DC

What really lasts through the years? Is it professionally printed portraits or digital files?

I know it’s hard to imagine the future of image storage. It wasn’t that long ago that my kids and I were making weekly visits to the video store to borrow VHS movies. At the time, I never imagined being able to just click a few buttons and watch my favorite movies without even getting off the couch. 

We might think it’ll be easy to pass down family images to the next generation digitally, but the truth is, we don’t know. A client once told me her wedding photos were still on a CD with plans to make an album. Are you able to open a CD on your computer? Most laptops now don’t even include a CD drive. 

Printing and holding your family images in an album or framed on your wall is the only sure way your grandchildren and even great-grandchildren can see them. I’d love to share what this personally means to me and why printed portraits are what really last. 

My Great-Grandmother’s Album

I found a treasure shortly after my father passed away, which made a very sad time as little less so. My dad’s grandmother was a photo fiend and I had lots and lots of her old photos and albums, but the album I found that day was one I had never seen before. It contains photos that are over 100 years old – before my father was born, before my grandparents were even married! All the people in this album have long since passed on so it’s a time capsule for me. Many of the photos are faded but some of them were printed on better paper that has held up quite well. The materials we use to create professional prints and custom albums today are rated to last for 300 years.

I can identify some of the people in these photos; others I can’t. I have loved having this album and have enjoyed looking through it with my kids. It has allowed to me reconnect with some of my cousins in the hope of eventually identifying more people. My assistant was amazed by the way it captured a particular time in American life and the life of Eastern European immigrants. When I deliver a client’s custom family heirloom album, I can’t help but imagine future generations looking through that very album and having a time-traveling experience like I had. 

Searching for Digital Images

A friend of mine was looking for a particular childhood image of herself and her sister. She knew the photo was probably on her parents’ desktop computer, but trying to locate the image was no small feat. Was it under her dad’s account or her mom’s? Her mom’s account was somewhat organized but had hundreds of folders and possibly thousands photos in all; her dad’s account was a disaster! The image title is probably 737473DSM.jpg anyway and how do you search for that?! (She still hasn’t found the image, by the way!)

No, I’m not saying you need to print every single image you’ve ever taken, but properly printing your most important images will safely preserve them. 

Professionally Printing Your Family Artwork 

I can’t emphasize how important it is to invest in high-quality portrait artwork. Of course, it’s not feasible to print every single image, but that’s why I’m so focused on carefully planning your family portrait session so that we capture these images that you’ll truly treasure. After our session, you’ll choose your very favorite images to be professionally printed. Most clients have some framed for their walls and have me create an album with the rest. The products I offer are hand-made, designed to last, and are well worth the investment. 

There is a great deal of love packed into my great-grandmother’s album. Back then, printing was the only option. I’m sure it wasn’t cheap, but they valued keepsakes of the memories they were making and passed both the love of photography and the album itself down to me. I hope to pass it on to one of my children and their children after that. 

Lisa Maco Photography in Washington DC

As my business grows and I meet more Washington DC families, I feel more resolved than ever to continue my work of preserving their memories through printed portrait artwork. Because my great-grandmother took the time and effort to print family albums, my children and I are able to know our family’s story. I want every family that I serve to have a story like mine. 

If you’re interested in learning more about my process or booking a session, please send me a message here.  

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Certified Professional Photographer | Lisa Maco Photography, LLC, Washington, DC

Modern Photography for Busy Families

in and around Northwest DC

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Lisa Maco Photography, LLC Washington DC

Lisa Maco Photography, LLC

4400 Greenwich Pkwy NW

Washington, DC 20007

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